Just How Far Can Burnley Go This Season?

19 November 2017

There is a possibility that one day, Burnley supporters will wake from their slumber and find themselves once more hauling their way through fixtures against Barnsley and Bristol City, but for now Clarets' fans everywhere will continue to dwell in dreamland. 

Swansea have historically been a bogey team for the Clarets in the Premier League but yesterday at Turf Moor, they were dispatched with poise and alacrity by a Burnley team purring with the smooth, elegant efficiency of a Rolls-Royce engine.  

In most of the other matches the Clarets have won this season, they had done so by establishing a lead then hanging on to it. Yesterday however, Burnley were never forced into that position. Instead they asserted early control and never looked in any danger of relinquishing it.

Burnley’s two goals were both constructed on that solid foundation, the first a smooth, crisp passing movement, conceived and concluded by Jack Cork, the second a thumping drive from the rumbustious Ashley Barnes, who profited from Steven Defour’s pressing and Jeff Hendrick’s incisive pass.

Cork’s goal in particular drew praise from manager Sean Dyche and from various pundits for the clean precision of its development. Dyche likened Cork’s contribution to Bryan Robson for the way he drifted into the Swansea penalty area from his midfield position to apply the finish to Robbie Brady’s radar precision left wing cross. 

For Clarets fans of a certain vintage, like myself, it was more reminiscent of Martin Dobson heading in from a Leighton James delivery. Don’t believe, me? Then check out the “Heroes” video shown on the big screen prior to the kick off at every Burnley home game.

The net result is a further three points and a widening of the gap between Burnley’s current position of seventh and the remainder of the division. Indeed, Burnley’s grip on the coat tails of the current top six remains firm. 

Match of the Day suggested that Burnley are flirting with European football. Maybe it is more a case that Burnley have got its number and asked it out for dinner? 

A resurgent Arsenal visit Turf Moor next Sunday. They will almost certainly provide a tougher challenge than a relegation threatened Swansea City, who were clearly bereft of confidence.

But these are the challenges that Burnley have earned the right to confront. The Burnley bedrock of  Ben Mee, Nick Pope and James Tarkowski will undoubtedly be already looking forward to taking on £150 millions worth of the Gunners front three exotic talent.

Many have already been overcome by this Wenger inspired team and the pervasive feeling persists, at least amongst Burnley fans, that after last season’s two matches against the Gunners, there are records which need to be set straight; refereeing wrongs which need to be righted.   

Sunday can wait. In the meantime, Clarets fans will continue to live the reality of their dreams.

This Burnley centric match report was written by uber Burnley fan Dave Thornley, who contributes regularly on behalf of Clarets Mad. (TEC).